Launch Slideshow

Full-height windows and glass doors in each room put the stunning landscape on constant display.

Montecito Residence

Montecito Residence

  • Full-height windows and glass doors in each room put the stunning landscape on constant display.

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    Full-height windows and glass doors in each room put the stunning landscape on constant display.

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    Jim Bartsch

    Full-height windows and glass doors in each room put the stunning landscape on constant display.

  • The roof shields the house from the sun and tips up toward the view.

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    The roof shields the house from the sun and tips up toward the view.

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    Nikolas Koenig

    The roof shields the house from the sun and tips up toward the view.

  • Guest rooms and the pool lie on one side of the spine, garage and private areas on the other.

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    Guest rooms and the pool lie on one side of the spine, garage and private areas on the other.

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    Tim Bies

    Guest rooms and the pool lie on one side of the spine, garage and private areas on the other.

  • The Dutch door and long hallway funnel in cooling offshore breezes.

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    The Dutch door and long hallway funnel in cooling offshore breezes.

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    Nikolas Koenig

    The Dutch door and long hallway funnel in cooling offshore breezes.

  • The houses floor plan.

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    The houses floor plan.

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    Courtesy Olson Kundig Architects

    The house's floor plan.

  • The living area connects to a garden and swimming pool.

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    The living area connects to a garden and swimming pool.

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    Nikolas Koenig

    The living area connects to a garden and swimming pool.

  • The master bedroom floats in a steel frame.

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    The master bedroom floats in a steel frame.

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    Nikolas Koenig

    The master bedroom floats in a steel frame.

  • Clerestories spill light and views into the central spine.

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    Clerestories spill light and views into the central spine.

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    Nikolas Koenig

    Clerestories spill light and views into the central spine.

  • A deck extends the kitchen outdoors.

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    A deck extends the kitchen outdoors.

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    Nikolas Koenig

    A deck extends the kitchen outdoors.

  • The house sits lightly on the land, and its fire-resistant glass, steel, and concrete exterior is designed to blend in.

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    The house sits lightly on the land, and its fire-resistant glass, steel, and concrete exterior is designed to blend in.

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    Tim Bies

    The house sits lightly on the land, and its fire-resistant glass, steel, and concrete exterior is designed to blend in.

olson kundig architects, seattle

Subdued and stunning are two adjectives not often uttered in the same sentence, but that’s how the judges described this project. “It’s like a wedding chapel in Japan,” said one. “It’s sculptural but fits in, and is part of the path.”

And what a destination it is. Set in the fire-prone Toro Canyon, the house responds to big views and extreme environmental conditions. Its hardscrabble concrete and steel blend into the land, and its form harvests the elements—sun and wind—that create potential hazards. The overhanging roof provides shade and sheds water for a future cistern, its tail kicking up toward the view and prevailing breezes. “That’s where the 18-foot Dutch door comes in,” explains Tom Kundig, FAIA. “The upper portion can be opened, allowing breezes to flow through while maintaining security. Operating both together opens the spine dramatically for the entry sequence, building to the main box that strings the main rooms along the edge of the bluff.”

A judge noted appreciatively that the design “understands approach and arrival and is modest, considering what the land is worth.”


Project Credits
principal in charge: Tom Kundig, FAIA, Olson Kundig Architects, www.olsonkundigarchitects.com
project manager: Elizabeth Bianchi Conklin, AIA, LEED AP, Olson Kundig Architects
general contractor: Bob Young, Young Construction, Santa Barbara, Calif., www.youngconst.com
interior designer: Debbie Kennedy, Olson Kundig Architects
project size: 3,786 square feet
site size: 10 acres
construction cost: Withheld
photography: Nikolas Koenig, except where noted

Product Details
paints/stains/wall finishes: Benjamin Moore & Co. www.benjaminmoore.com; windows: Fleetwood Windows & Doors www.fleetwoodusa.com

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